August 20th, 2012

Whale fluke

R.I.P. Tony Scott

The head can be a maddening place. You know that. But we can forget that.

My jaw genuinely dropped in shock last night when I learned that longtime film director Tony Scott jumped off of a bridge into L.A. Harbor, leaving notes behind in his car and at his office. This morning, in my processing of that, I'd started writing a long entry about the maddening condition of depression, but then learned more:

Tony Scott had inoperable brain cancer. So that was what was wrong. Depression means something chemically "off" in one's brain; this meant Tony Scott had something literally destroying his brain, hurting his mind. So there was at least one huge problem. Whether or not there was something else wrong on top of that, the result is, still, someone lost to us. Someone lost to his family -- actress Donna Scott and their twin sons; his older brother Ridley Scott -- and to his friends and colleagues. This man knew Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, and Tom Waits. That's eclectic. And they and many others all have a new hole in their lives. (Screenwriter Zack Stentz, who worked last year with Scott on a proposed Top Gun sequel before they amicably parted ways and other writers stepped in, said last night "Goodbye, Tony, you brilliant, cantankerous dude. Thanks for the memories and the peek into your amazing mind. Hope we meet again.".)

Tony Scott was a bold person. While filming Top Gun on an underway aircraft carrier, he asked for the carrier to delay a course change so his crew could get a shot. When the captain said that they couldn't do that, due to planned operations, Scott asked how much it cost to operate the carrier for five minutes. The captain calculated quickly and came up with a dollar figure -- a five-figure dollar figure, if I remember correctly. Scott ran down to his bunk room, wrote a check for that amount, gave it to the captain, and got his permission to keep the carrier going that one way for five more minutes. That was a good kind of bold.

This, I feel, is the wrong kind of bold. I can't imagine wanting to end one's life in such a definite, awful way. But we won't know why he did it; his mind won't tell us. Maybe his mind didn't really tell him. Now we won't know.

Cancer sucks. We know that.

I'll close by paraphrasing a bit of philosophy you'll recognize. You don't actually want to get busy dying.

8-20-2012 6:30 Update: Now it's murkier, and I feel I should note that. Scott's family has announced that he in fact did not have cancer or a tumor.
TOS: NCC-1701


Dammit, I've written more about suicide lately than I'd like. And for reasons I don't feel like getting into, I'm cranky. I want to fight that crankiness ("Come see the softer side of Chris...") and write about positive, happier stuff:

  • I've braved the weather, the finally-here heat wave Portland had for part of this month, unscathed. My apartment's stayed reasonably comfortable through this whole thing, with some times of being too stuffy but I got through that.

  • Weather-related: no sunburns in a while! In fact, there's some color -- non-totally pale, non-burnt red -- on my arms and neck. I've done better at being in the sun judicious amounts of time, getting Vitamin D without overdoing it.

  • I've gotten to two performances of Trek in the Park's "Journey to Babel" this month, a fun show in a spectacular setting (Cathedral Park in St. Johns) with performers who can roll with unexpected wrenches in the works. Example:

    On Saturday, when Adam Rosko (Capt. James T. Kirk) and Jaime Kirk (secret assassin Thelev, and yes, you can guess why Jaime's parents named him what they named him) started fighting, an unleashed dog raced the stage barking. Hackles up, concerned: the dog's body language was Oh no! They're fighting! Stop it! The audience cracked up. The owner ran onstage, dragged the dog off and out of the way, then sat her down and kept her in place the rest of the show. Rosko and Kirk continued their fight, Kirk went to the stage as planned, Rosko played wounded as he should, and when he called for security to help him he added "and I found the ensign's dog." Which cracked up the audience again. Then post-show I found that Jesse Graff, who plays Spock, had already wondered what would happen if a dog went onstage, and because he loves the latest Star Trek movie so much, he'd decided he'd use that moment to say "Tell Admiral Archer we've found his dog!" But Graff wasn't on stage when that happened. But! He was ready if he were!


  • I'm enjoying (after Mike Russell's reccomendation) season 1 of the U.S. Marshall drama Justified. I'm also becoming ever more unlikely ever to try a life of crime! Also I should try again to read Elmore Leonard. (First time I tried reading him was in the early 90s, when I bought a paperback of Get Shorty at an airport. For some reason I slammed into a story wall on Page F'ing 1. Couldn't get into it at all. The quickest I've given up on a book; I don't like to do that.)

  • Upright, taking nourishment, reading, managing to laugh -- because if we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane. Well, insane-er.

    Do something positive when you can, OK? Give a nice shoulder rub to someone who can use it, help somebody with an errand, kiss or do more with someone who likes when you do that, hug... nice and happy stuff is possible!
  • Good Omens

    Fun With Books

    OK, this book (and this film) I like a lot. Enough that I bought the book 21 years ago:

    2Books 8-20-2012 003

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    Back in college, I copied that page of photos --

    1A - Books 8-20-2012 001

    -- and made it into a little board on my dorm room door, showing what I was up to. The upper left (I think that shot looks like me!) was "I'm sleeping"; I think the next shot to the right was "I'm eating." One of the middle ones was "I'm coming apart" (stress). The lower right picture I labelled "I'm really gone."

    Added 1/13/2013: Huh: I still have that board. I just found it, five months after I wrote this. Here's how I labelled the six photos, because why not get it exact?:

    I'm sleeping&&&&I'm eating&&&
    I'm in here, spreading out and getting comfortable&&&&I'm spreading myself thin (I'm studying)&&&&&&&&
    I'm coming apart at the seams (finals coming up)&&&&I'm gone&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&